Mick Cooke's SSE Airtricity League predictions

Cork City continue to lead the way while Galway United need a win urgently

Cork City, Karl Sheppard, League of Ireland,

Cork City's Karl Sheppard celebrates scoring the second goal of the game ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

This Easter weekend, all 12 League of Ireland Premier Division sides are in action with five on Good Friday and another on Saturday. Former Drogheda United and Monaghan United manager Mick Cooke has made his predictions for the weekend's action for Newstalk.com.

Bohemians vs Cork City

Cork City have made a blistering start to the campaign and it's now eight wins from eight ahead of a trip to Bohs side who are sixth but only two points above the bottom three in a season that ex-Shelbourne midfielder Stuart Byrne expects to be "unique" and "strange" due to the fact three go down automatically.

Mick says: "Bohs turned around a dodgy start and it seemed things were coming together for them but the last few weeks there was a bad defeat at home to Pats and and then losing to Sligo away which was a place I thought they would have got a result. 

"And the form Cork are in the last couple of games with an emphatic win over Derry and winning 3-0 away to Limerick, I certainly can't see Bohs stopping them." 

Predictions: "I'm going for a Cork win at Dalymount." 

Derry City vs Finn Harps

The Northwest Derby pits fourth against ninth and Mick says of the latter, "I watched Harps when they were unlucky against Shamrock Rovers and when they beat Pats down at Richmond Park.

"But I think Derry will be too strong for Harps."

Prediction: A Derry win.

Dundalk vs Bray Wanderers 

It's an interesting clash as champions and second placed Dundalk welcome third placed Bray Wanderers to their home patch.

"This is now a big few weeks for Bray. They had a start to the season where they played all the teams that finished below them last season and now they have a run of games where they play Dundalk, Rovers and Cork," says Mick.

"It's going to be a big few weeks for them if they are to remain in a European spot. Meanwhile, overall Dundalk have only lost to Derry and to Cork so far."  

Prediction: I would go for Dundalk in this game. 

Galway United vs St Patrick's Athletic 

The two sides are united by the fact that they have made disappointing starts to the season with Galway four points adrift at the bottom and Pats the team immediately above them in the table.

"It must be very worrying times for Galway," says Mick. "Three points after seven games and then there's Pats who are totally inconsistent with seven points from eight games.

"But you would imagine Pats would have a bit too much guile for them. The pressure comes on teams now after eight games. You don't want to start depending on other teams to do you favours so early in the season. I think already Galway are hoping that teams would do them favours. They're playing a team just above them in the league which is a massive game for both teams.   

Prediction: "I would go for Pats in this one."

Shamrock Rovers vs Sligo Rovers 

A battle of the Rovers with just a point separating them. An inconsistent Shamrock Rovers remain seventh while Sligo have rallied somewhat to move up to 10th.

Mick says: "When you think about all the talk about Shamrock Rovers pre-season that they would be a Top Four team, they've now played eight games and won three, losing five, which I'm sure the supporters aren't happy with.

"For Sligo, expectations were good after what Dave Robertson did last season but a bad start to the season again and the club have reacted by sacking him. Certainly, they had a very good win last week against Bohemians."  

Prediction: "I think Shamrock Rovers go into this game as favourites and I will go with them." 

Limerick vs Drogheda United 

Both sides are coming off the back of victories from their last fixtures and Limerick from a change of manager.

Mick says: "Expectations are high down in Limerick because of the money they've put into the club. But when you think of the couple of defeats they've had, it's the top teams that have beaten them. But another win for Limerick would put them in the top half of the table or maybe into the Top Four.

"Drogheda I think will be inconsistent. Great win for them last week beating Shamrock Rovers - a fantastic win for them." 

Prediction: "Certainly Limerick with the squad they have, I would expect them to win this game."